Panera Bread faces its second wrongful death lawsuit over its caffeinated “charged lemonade.”

Panera Bread faces its second wrongful death lawsuit over its caffeinated “charged lemonade.”

Panera Bread is at the center of another wrongful death lawsuit after a Florida family claimed the restaurant’s caffeinated lemonade drink caused Dennis Brown to go into cardiac arrest.

The popular fast food chain issued warnings in late October and added labels on menus for high-caffeine “charged lemonade” drinks, after a similar lawsuit claimed a woman died after drinking it.

In the wake of that death earlier this year, the restaurant chain advised customers at the time that the drinks contained “as much caffeine as Panera dark roast coffee,” and warned customers to “use in moderation,” with a disclaimer. “Not recommended for children, people sensitive to caffeine, and pregnant or breastfeeding women.”

A standard order of Panera supercharged lemonade contains 13 milligrams of caffeine per ounce, but the iced drink had not previously taken into account potential ice dilution in its original nutritional descriptions on menus. ABC News has learned that Panera is in the process of updating its menu materials and information.

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Charged Lemonade flavors are on display at a Panera Bread restaurant, on Nov. 1, 2023, in Novato, California.

A large 30-ounce lemonade was previously listed on Panera’s menu as containing 390 milligrams at the time of the first lawsuit, which is just 10 milligrams below the recommended daily maximum for caffeine consumption for adults, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. administration. Panera’s menu now states that the same drink contains 237 mg of caffeine. ABC News has learned that Panera is in the process of updating its menu materials and information.

The new lawsuit filed Monday and obtained by ABC News alleges that Brown, 46, who was a member of the restaurant’s “Sip Club” that allows customers to order unlimited drinks, consumed supercharged lemonade with his dinner at Panera. location near his job in Florida and later died while returning home.

The lawsuit states that Panera advertised its plant-based “Charged Lemonade,” which comes in three flavors, as taking lemonade to the next level with “clean caffeine” as an instant energy drink derived from guarana and green coffee extract.

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Panera Bread’s citrus-charged lemonade, mango and yuzu is on display at a Panera Bread restaurant, on November 1, 2023 in Novato, California.

According to ABC Atlanta affiliate WSB, Brown had a chromosomal disorder, and those close to him — including his supportive live coach, Deann Burgess — said Brown “didn’t buy energy drinks or anything like that.” Brown’s family told WSB that Brown avoided energy drinks because of high blood pressure.

Brown had been drinking lemonade for six days before his death, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also alleges that the “unregulated drink” Brown purchased “was served alongside all non-caffeinated and/or lower-caffeinated beverages in the store; it was not advertised as an ‘energy drink’ and was not “There are no other drinks. Warnings to consumers.”

“Accordingly, Dennis consumed Panera lemonade and was reasonably confident that it was conventional lemonade with a reasonable amount of caffeine that was safe for him to drink,” the lawsuit said. The suit also says: “Upon information and belief, during the 90 minutes he spent at PBC, Dennis refilled the charged lemonade two additional times. Dennis was known to have a habit of drinking three drinks in a row.”

Brown was found unconscious on the sidewalk and was pronounced dead at the scene on October 9

A Panera Bread spokesperson told ABC News: “Panera extends our deepest sympathies to Mr. Brown’s family. Based on our investigation, we believe his unfortunate death was not caused by one of the company’s products.” “We hold that this lawsuit, brought by the same law firm as a previous lawsuit, is meritless. Panera stands firmly by the safety of our products.”

The FDA sent a written statement to WSB in Atlanta, writing: “The FDA is saddened to hear of the death of a consumer and, as always, takes reports of illness or injury from regulated products very seriously.”

The agency added that it “generally does not comment on potential, pending, or ongoing litigation” and “monitors the market for FDA-regulated products and takes appropriate action, including cooperating with the Federal Trade Commission regarding marketing claims.”

Family of college student sues Panera Bread over shipped lemonade

This fast-casual restaurant was previously named in a wrongful death lawsuit in Philadelphia regarding the same caffeinated drinks after the family of University of Pennsylvania student Sarah Katz, 21, died of cardiac arrest after drinking Panera lemonade.

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A charged lemonade dispenser is seen at a Panera Bread restaurant, on November 1, 2023, in Novato, California.

“We were saddened to learn last week of the tragic death of Sarah Katz. While our investigation remains ongoing, out of an abundance of caution, we have enhanced the current caffeine disclosure of these beverages in our bakery cafes, on our website and on the Panera app,” a Panera spokesperson said. to ABC News in a statement.

MORE: Experts warn parents against drinking caffeinated energy drinks that are popular with teens

At age 5, Katz was diagnosed with congenital long QT syndrome type 1, which can lead to potentially life-threatening arrhythmias due to potassium ion channels in the heart not working properly, disrupting the heart’s electrical activity.

According to the lawsuit, obtained by ABC News, while Katz drank the charged lemonade, it was not advertised by Panera as an “energy drink.”

“She was very aware of her health,” Victoria Conway, Katz’s roommate and friend, told Atlanta ABC affiliate WSB. “She was very careful to avoid caffeine. She never drank coffee.”

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Panera Bread’s citrus-charged lemonade, mango and yuzu is on display at a Panera Bread restaurant, on November 1, 2023 in Novato, California.

A regular 20-ounce serving size of supercharged lemonade contains 260 milligrams of caffeine, while a large 30-ounce serving size contains 390 milligrams.

“In general, at lower doses, caffeine is not harmful, but at higher doses we begin to discuss the negative effects it can have on our bodies,” ABC News medical contributor Dr. Darren Sutton said. “The FDA recommends that the average adult drink no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day.”

This amount, 400 milligrams per day — roughly four or five cups of coffee — “is not generally associated with serious adverse effects” in healthy adults, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA notes that there is “considerable variation in how sensitive people are to the effects of caffeine and how quickly they metabolize it,” especially for certain conditions and certain medications, which the FDA says “can make people more sensitive to the effects of caffeine.” “.

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